What is SoTL?

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) considers teaching as a scholarly endeavor that is worthy of research designed to produce a body of knowledge open to critique and evaluation. SoTL uses reflection, discovery, analysis, and evidence-based procedures to research effective teaching, with the ultimate goal of improving student learning outcomes. It promotes the notion that being an expert in teaching is just as important as being an expert in one’s chosen field of study. But it is more than just becoming a better teacher. SoTL is rigorous, quantifiable research. Engaging in SoTL allows educators to empirically evaluate teaching practices and techniques that work, and do not work, leading to systemic change based on verifiable results.

The goal of SoTL journals, such as the Journal of Financial Education (JFEd) and Advances in Financial Education (AFEd), is to create a learning community of scholars who contribute to, and extend, the current body of knowledge about teaching and learning. Discipline specific SoTL research is particularly important as technology progressively impacts and alters traditional formats, methods, and processes of education. Moreover, SoTL journals in business perfectly align with the 2003 Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation standards based on the “Assurance of Learning” (AOL) and the 2013 revision of AOL which emphasize “Innovation, Impact and Engagement.”

Research submitted to quality SoTL academic journals such as JFEd and AFEd are peer reviewed and publicly circulated in a continuous process of systematic inquiry into the best practices of higher education in general, and in a specific field of study (e.g., finance) in particular. This process benefits students and provides educators the opportunity for professional development. Additionally, as higher education institutions recognize the rigor and quality of SoTL research, SoTL publications are increasingly being acknowledged in tenure and promotion decisions. JFEd and AFEd allow finance educators two different outlets to demonstrate effective classroom teaching and, more importantly, to highlight an active, sustained interest in research concerning teaching improvement to enhance their teaching portfolios.

Learn More about SoTL
As editors of the Journal of Financial Education and Advances in Financial Education, we strongly suggest that authors wishing to submit manuscripts to the journals first review the following SoTL resources. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these are excellent guides and published works that describe how to effectively design, execute, and record SoTL research. Acceptance decisions for manuscripts submitted to JFEd and AFEd are based on adherence to the basic principles outlined in these resources.

  • Welcome to a Tutorial on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A PowerPoint created by the Carnegie Foundation and the University of Indiana-Bloomington. This comprehensive and extremely engaging multimedia tutorial includes “photos, graphics, hyperlinks to sources, audio and video clips, and interactive tasks as well as text.” Particularly interesting topics discussed in the presentation are: The What and Why of SoTL, Reasons to Engage in SoTL, The Origins and Evolution of SoTL, Examples of SoTL Projects, and How to Conduct Your Own SoTL Research.
  1. The Scholarship of Teaching by Eileen Bender (Indiana University South Bend) and Donald Gray (Indiana University Bloomington).
    1. This article provides an overview to SoTL as a reflective practice in which educators “invest” into their teaching the same intellectual powers they routinely practice in conducting discipline specific research. The site also contains links to several other articles concerning SoTL from Indiana University’s Research and Creative Activity, Vol. 22, No. 1, April 1999.
  2. SoTL: The Legacy of Ernest Boyer, The Gwenna Moss Centre for Teaching Effectiveness, University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
    1. Ernest L. Boyer (1928-1995) was an educator and administrator who helped shape American education as Chancellor of the State University of New York, as United States Commissioner of Education, and as President of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. He is considered by some to be one of the primary pioneers of SoTL. In College: The Undergraduate Experience in America (Harper & Row), Dr. Boyer argues that “at every research university, teaching should be valued as highly as research.” This website, which offers a concise summary of “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate” (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990), discusses a new paradigm of scholarship, calling for teaching and service to be considered as scholarly activities.
  3. A SoTL Tutorial from the Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching
    1. This website lists and describes all of the elements necessary for initiating a SoTL project. The site contains numerous videos and visuals that clearly and succinctly explain how to design and execute SoTL research.
  4. How could I do scholarship of teaching & learning?
    1. A brief note illustrating several of the genres of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL), including an annotated bibliography of SoTL literature and links to several online resources.
    2. The Gallery of Teaching and Learning: The Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) in Higher Education: This collection presents the efforts of over 15 CASTL Scholars to render their teaching public. The authors of the sites are faculty members from different institutions and of various disciplines; each of whom turned a scholarly eye upon their teaching and generously shared representations of these efforts here, for others to engage.The sites in this collection include hand-built faculty teaching portfolios and scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) projects that were created over a period of eight years. They display the inquiry, processes, and reflections of faculty from disciplines including (but not limited to) mathematics, psychology, and music. At the same time, they reveal some unique ways of representing individual faculty investigations of teaching, collaborative inquiry, and disciplinary and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
  5. Visible Knowledge Project: A collaborative investigation of learning, inquiry, and technology
    1. A list and descriptions of numerous SoTL projects that study new media technologies and their impact on higher education. The links for CURRENT PROJECTS, LIBRARY, and THEMES & FINDINGS are particularly pertinent to educators wanting to know more about SoTL.
  6. SoTL Bibliography–Selected Sources on the Field of SoTL–Spring 2013
    1. An extensive bibliography of books and articles on SoTL.

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